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Kids, work, everything is my fault.

(189 Posts)
Putthatonyourneedles Mon 27-Feb-17 20:51:36

Why is everything my fault? Why is it dumped on me. I have dd12 and two lo under 5, work nights full time whilst juggling depression and Dh works full time.

I had postnatal depression with dd12. It has strained our relationship, she has a brilliant bond with Dh (her dad) but as a result social services have been in and out of our lives for a number of years particularly when I've had bad periods of mental health and now this latest social worker has declared that everything is due to me.

In the last year social services have started to blame everything on me. Dd12 was caught shoplifting on cctv on numerous occasions on the way to and from school (banned from two shops now) she denied it even when told that we had evidence of it. The police came into school and spoke to her about it, all was fine with no more reports of shop lifting or finding items that we hadn't bought in the house.

She won't brush her teeth properly (she will even lie and just wet the toothbrush but not actually use it)she wont brush her hair thoroughly or take any pride in her appearance despite me letting her choose her hair bobbles and bits. She won't wash properly, she just stands in the bathroom running the shower whilst she isnt in it and then says that she is done or she just stands there with the water pouring over her but not actually washing herself with bubbles (which she chooses)

She won't bring her laundry down to be washed or if she does it will only be half the wash basket. She has one chore per day ie Wednesday is her laundry day, Friday she has to put her clothes away etc. Not major huge chores. Small responsibilities for herself. One month after nagging her constantly about uniform I stopped nagging her and asked once for her to bring her uniform to be washed on her wash day and I didn't count the shirts into the machine, as instructed by the social worker to "give dd12 a rest from being nagged" in the end she ended up going to school in dirty uniform.

When challenged or "nagged" about anything she automatically defaults to "I don't know" or just grunts and whines.

She started to forge my signature in her homework diary, she will often be late to school or very late home.

My lo will clean their teeth, put their shoes away and help with chores occasionally.

I don't know what to do next or how to sort this out? I'm tired of being blamed for a 12yo who wont wash properly. What am I supposed to? Wash her like a baby?

We have tried positive reinforcement with pocket money and items, tried negative such as taking away her kindle tablet until she completes her chore or co operates with us. Everything goes fine until we give her the tablet back and then the behaviour reverts right back to before.

SookiesSocks Mon 27-Feb-17 20:53:37

Wheres dad in all this? Is he suppirtive of you and parenting his children?

StarryIllusion Mon 27-Feb-17 20:59:43

I would come down hard tbh. Fuck the teeth brushing. Let her get a cavity and toothache and she will learn that one the hard way. Insist on regular showers but if she doesn't wash properly then again, that is her problem, she will smell and the other kids will pick on her. Any washing that doesn't make it into the basket or doesn't get brought down doesn't get washed. Tough shit. She will learn the hard way on that too.

If taking the tablet works then you keep it and she earns time on it for good behaviour. At the moment she has it and it gets taken for bad behaviour. Make you having it the default. She only gets it for the evening/day once she has washed properly, brushed her teeth and done what you have asked of her chore/personal hygiene wise. Sniff her to check if you have to.

Putthatonyourneedles Mon 27-Feb-17 21:07:22

Dh is very good with the kids but he is at the end of his tether as well with her. He is actually developed chest pains and other stress related issues as a result.

She doesn't care/notice if she smells, she doesn't care if her hair hangs in her face or her nails are filthy.

I shower before bed and when I get home from work. Dh showers before work. The little ones are washed when needed( due to dry skin)

She is so bright according to her school teachers and reports.

Putthatonyourneedles Mon 27-Feb-17 21:12:01

I tried not washing clothes that weren't bought down and I stopped ironing her uniform as she would take it and scrunch it up in her drawer. I then got phone calls from the school "Asking if there were any issues at home" and the social worker actually used the word "neglected"

This is all taking a huge hit to my mental health. Maybe I am a shit mum. I dread what damage I'm gonna do to the younger two if I'm this bad.

PaulaBBB Mon 27-Feb-17 21:18:30

You're not a shit mum or you wouldn't be here looking for help and ideas.

I think I would take anything away from her, phone, tablet, money, laptop, tv in room, etc when she isn't beheaving or being hygienic. Give her a warning and let her know if she doesn't do xyz then she will lose her phone (or what not). What about clubs like dance class, if she does them then take them away too.

SookiesSocks Mon 27-Feb-17 21:28:35

You need to wash her clothes she is still a child and although badly behaved it does not mean you stop the basics.

Iron her clothes only when she needs them.
Stand with her and watch her brush her teeth at least once a day.
Take her swimming once a week as its better than no bath at all.
You both need to actively parent her.
I am not saying you are bad parents but some DC need more hands on parenting. My DS1 is the same.
She is not doing anything unsupervised so you both need to start.

HermioneJeanGranger Mon 27-Feb-17 21:33:28

I don't think you can refuse to wash a child's uniform just because they haven't brought it downstairs.

Doing the basics is just parenting - yes, they should be encouraged to be independent but you still need to make sure they have clean clothes and brush their teeth, imo.

EssieTregowan Mon 27-Feb-17 21:40:11

She sounds very similar to my DD a year ago. Right down to the shoplifting.

We picked our battles. Do her washing for her so she has clean clothes and feels cherished. Stop telling her to shower and clean her teeth, maybe just ask her to at the weekend. We found DD started wanting to shower daily of her own back in the end, and she cleans her teeth every day.

Once every couple of months we have a day where (within reason) she gets to pick what we do, just the two of us. A lunch out, nails and hair, cinema etc etc.

EssieTregowan Mon 27-Feb-17 21:41:43

Sorry posted too soon.

Don't underestimate the effect having an ill parent can have on a child, particularly older children. She is likely acting out because she doesn't feel secure. This is not your fault, but it is what happens unfortunately.

Be kinder to yourself and kinder to her. I know how hard it is flowers

Putthatonyourneedles Mon 27-Feb-17 21:44:06

Swimming once a week? Honestly I don't have the time to do that as I have housework to keep on top of ( social worker said "house is OK but could be better")2 lo to shuttle back and forth to nursery so that I can sleep for my night shifts.
Dh works 5 days a week and leaves the house at 0745am,Dd12 leaves at 0805. Dh gets home at 1830 and dd12 gets home at 1700. I go to work 4 nights a week at 1800 and don't get home until 0800 the following day (Dh meets me half way home with yhr little ones) I spend my evenings when im not at work ironing, sorting laundry, trying to toilet train the lo's, other general housework, trying to decorate and grocery online shopping. . I have two under 5, neither of whom swim. I have no family/friends to leave the littles ones with whilst I take dd12 swimming.

I have offered swimming lessons, diving lessons, dance, gymnastics,judo etc. She isn't interested and doesn't want to go. We tried beavers and she went 4 times before not wanting to go.

Atenco Mon 27-Feb-17 21:44:10

No advice, but your dd doesn't sound particularly bad to me. My dd was horrible in a different at that age, but she grew up fine. It sounds like it is the sw who is stressing you out about this.

StarryIllusion Mon 27-Feb-17 21:48:00

Can you get her on board with teaching little ones to swim? It'd get her in there and solve the childcare problem. I would be ruthlessly holding that tablet to ransom if it was the only thing that had an impact.

SookiesSocks Mon 27-Feb-17 21:53:13

Seriously between the 2 of you there is no possibility of taking your DC swimming once a week?
You are unable to stand and watch her brush her teeth once a day?

Look clearly you are overwhelmed and as far as you are concerned you both as parents are doing all you can.are you really sure you are though?

RainbowsAndUnicorn Mon 27-Feb-17 22:06:16

She is a child, of course you should wash her clothes. Were you not ashamed to get a call from school over it?

Perhaps she needs some acual one to one time, life seems to revolve around the little ones and you have not one positive comment to make about her.

Putthatonyourneedles Mon 27-Feb-17 22:09:34

Rainbows- perhaps you'd like to read all the posts before making such a horrible remark.

SookiesSocks Mon 27-Feb-17 22:13:40

OP there are 3 nights a week where you and DP are home. Can one of you not take her swimming then? Spend some 1:1 time with her?
What about one of you watching her brush her teeth is that possible?

knittingwithnettles Mon 27-Feb-17 22:22:01

I would do some love bombing and try not to expect much from her. It sounds like she is trying to get negative attention from you by being as horrible as possible..therefore you now have to turn the tables by giving her more positive attention. Pocket Money isn't going to make the difference - I think she needs cherishing, in so far as you can do it, in little things like clothes washing etc.

The not showering is a passing phase, most pre-teens go through it as a form of rebellion. What about just running her a lovely hot bath once a week at least, filling it with bubbles and seeing whether that tempts her? Not part of daily routine, just a leisurely bath. My son hated showers - he had sensory issues about taking his clothes off and getting into what he thought would be cold unpleasant air, but a bath always went down better.

Dd was so horrid at that age, I really sympathise, and I didn't have half your workload. She would lie on the floor and block us when she was angry, and pretend we had hurt it delibarately when we tried to get past. Her room was a mess. She wanted all sorts of things, nothing was ever enough. Nothing satisfied her. We were "horrible and mean". However peer pressure kicked in and she wanted to be clean and tidy and to wash her hair, so that was solved. She went on being very untidy at home though. Last night she was hoovering her room and decluttering it. It has taken a long time. Teens can be amazingly messy and thoughtless, but if you keep the communication open and keep cherishing them and try not to expect too much, they do get better I promise. thanks Just little things to make them feel cherished. Buying fave food. Asking how their day was even if they snarl back. Not criticising. Not bringing up the past. Not saying "you always do..." Tellling stories about good things from the past instead. Jokes. Letting your hair down a bit sometimes with her whilst being calm and reliable too, difficult I know. Not blaming her for things or expecting her to be better than she can be.

knittingwithnettles Mon 27-Feb-17 22:26:44

Dd also only became interested in extra curricular stuff when her friends did it. Year 7/8 she was too tired to consider it, school day really took its toll. I dont think that will make the difference anyway - it sounds like she wants to be with you and close to you both and will not be "fobbed" off with ways of removing her from your side like fun classes. Dd now does a dance class on Sats, having refused for years. She looks forward to it, but it was her decision to do it. Has refused point blank to do other stuff like choir or sports since age 11, but goes out with friends instead, so she is getting enough outside activity I hope.

knittingwithnettles Mon 27-Feb-17 22:28:38

I think once she feels cherished you can start setting some boundaries, but it won't work at this stage. Don't pay attention to the people telling you to come down hard on her, it is not the right approach when she is obviously suffering in some way. It is not your fault, but she is still suffering, most behaviour is a form of communication.

Putthatonyourneedles Mon 27-Feb-17 22:30:02

She refuses to go swimming. We have tried to go in the past both before and after the lo were born. She doesn't want to engage with us about anything unless we are playing one particular game. We buy items to.support her interests such as manga and decent art supplies which she doesn't look after and trashes shortly after getting them.

She chooses her own clothes and her own toiletries. But she doesn't participate in her own self care. She won't wash and she smells if she doesn't wash.

And I'm sorry but the lo's are dependant on me for most things. They need near constant supervision or one of them will be getting upto mischief or trashing the house.

I would have thought a 12yo would be able to follow the instruction to clean her teeth and would want to have clean teeth. I'm not expecting her to be immaculately contoured and dressed for the runway. I just want her clean and smelling pleasant.

She will offer to hoover her room (she seems to enjoy it and does a good job) but she isn't able to grasp washing?

The social worker and health visitor and the pastoral support teacher from school agreed that chores such as "bringing her clothes down to be washed" should be encouraged to get her to participate in her self care.

LynetteScavo Mon 27-Feb-17 22:31:03

She sounds pretty normal for a 12 to me, apart from the shoplifting.

I just go into my DCs rooms, gather up the discarded clothes from the floor (using the washing basket would be far to much effort!) and wash them. Yes, I count the shirts to make sure I haven't missed one that's been shoved under the bed. I nag about teeth. I say they must have a bath/shower tonight, despite objections. Yes, it's hard work.

But I have an 18yo who happily cooks and washes his own clothes, and has a ridiculously long shower every day, so I guess it pays off.

It's all part of parenting.

SookiesSocks Mon 27-Feb-17 22:33:15

So which is it? Earlier it was you dont have time to take her swimming now its she doesnt want to.

What about the teeth brushing? I have asked you the same question 3 times and you have ignored it.

LynetteScavo Mon 27-Feb-17 22:37:16

Yes, she should be encouraged to do simple chores. Encouraged. Not expected to always comply perfectly. Because, y'know she's 12yo, and a child. While a 2yo would probably delight in doing a simple chore like finding dirty clothes a 12yo is going to turn it into a massive drama.

My 11yo thinks it's fine to give me all of the clothes on her bedroom floor, whether they have bee worn or not. I'm not a mug. I'm not going to washed perfectly clean clothes becuase she got them out of her drawer and then abandoned them. Apparently that makes me unreasonable . And this is a child who has lead a charmed life. I can imagine a child who hasn't had everything always run smoothly making a massive issue out of it.

Ask her to help with the washing, but don't expect it.

knittingwithnettles Mon 27-Feb-17 22:40:54

The thing about Health Care Professionals is that they tend to think in terms of ideal routines and ideal boundaries and ideal diets and self care schedules. If she can do a little bit because she feels a bit happier, because you have washed her clothes, then it may not be in the HCP's manual.

I've had helpful input from an OT about my son, who has some independence issues due to his autism; however sometimes they were just plain tickbox exercises - ds must be encouraged to make his own lunchbox (ds very quickly decided to have school dinners, which he previously had refused) ds must work on an allotment after school (wtf? what allotment can you suggest) and the successful suggestion, ds might be encouraged to get himself to Running Club by bus and find his own bus pass beforehand. Yes. He managed that. It was a good babystep. We will move on in time to the lunchboxes and the digging up gardens.

Just so you take their advice with a pinch of salt well meant as it is. I suppose what they meant in essence was, try and involve her, but it could be an emotional involvement, like you going into her room and saying let me take your clothes or I've run you a bath, without strings attached.

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